2.5 Experiment

Previous sec­tions of this chap­ter sug­gest­ed that you do var­i­ous tasks. Each ex­pand­ed your knowl­edge about the SWLL or pro­vid­ed in­for­ma­tion on your cur­rent sta­tus. Another way to ex­pand your knowl­edge is to ex­per­i­ment. In this sec­tion we look at ex­per­i­ments you can try. The re­sults will prove use­ful when you start on the SWLL.

The first sub­ject for ex­per­i­men­ta­tion is the food you eat and the bev­er­ages you drink.

If you cur­rent­ly eat a typ­i­cal American diet, in­clud­ing sev­er­al fast food meals a week, you will need to mod­i­fy your eat­ing habits once you start on the SWLL. You may ex­pe­ri­ence a sense of loss when you do this, but you can min­i­mize it. During this prepara­to­ry pe­ri­od you can find new foods that you con­sid­er de­li­cious.

The best way to ex­per­i­ment with dif­fer­ent foods is to go to restau­rants. Most Americans are fa­mil­iar with Chinese and Italian cuisines, but there are many oth­ers.

The sub­con­ti­nent of India has many cuisines, from the mild and fra­grant dish­es of the north, to the burn­ing hot cur­ries of the south. Indian meals come with a range of condi­ments, in­clud­ing the cool and sooth­ing rai­ta (cu­cum­ber and yo­gurt), to sweet man­go chut­ney, to fierce pick­les. Indian cui­sine is es­pe­cial­ly im­por­tant since it has a wide range of veg­e­tar­i­an dish­es.

A com­mon view of French cui­sine is that all recipes start with, “Take a pound of melt­ed but­ter and a pint of heavy cream …” Certainly, there are restau­rants that serve meals pre­pared like this. However, cui­sine varies by re­gion, and many dish­es are light and healthy. For ex­am­ple, dish­es from the Provence re­gion in­clude bouil­l­abaisse, rata­touille, and soupe au pis­tou.

There are many oth­er cuisines such as Thai, Puerto Rican and Middle Eastern. For an ex­haus­tive list, go to Wikipedia and search for the phrase “list of cuisines.”

When you go to a new restau­rant, don’t wor­ry too much about the calo­rie and fat con­tent of what you eat. Your goal is to ex­plore new tastes to find dish­es you like. When you start the SWLL, you will be able to find recipes for these dish­es that re­duce the fat, salt and calo­ries. However, it would be wise to lim­it your restau­rant ex­per­i­ments to one or two a week. If you go out ev­ery night you will like­ly gain weight.

If you are a typ­i­cal American, you don’t each much fish. But once you start the SWLL, you will get best re­sults if you eat fish. Fish has few­er calo­ries than meat and has health­i­er fat.

Again, the best way to ex­per­i­ment is to go to seafood restau­rants. The big prob­lem with such es­tab­lish­ments is not the fish, but the way it is pre­pared and the condi­ments that come with it. Frying fish adds calo­ries and fat, as does the drawn but­ter that comes with lob­ster. Your goal is to find dish­es that taste good, but don’t have added calo­ries. To achieve this, ask for your fish to be grilled or broiled, and to be served with lemon. See if you en­joy the meal with brown rice rather than French fries.

Another area of food ex­per­i­men­ta­tion is sub­sti­tu­tions. The goal here is to try to iden­ti­fy food and bev­er­ages that taste al­most as good as what you cur­rent­ly in­gest, but have few­er calo­ries.

Some ex­am­ples are: Splenda, Stevia and Equal in­stead of sug­ar; diet Coke in­stead of full sug­ar Coke; baked pota­to chips in­stead of reg­u­lar; non-fat Reddi-wip in­stead of full cream Reddi-wip; low fat or fat free frozen yo­gurt in­stead of ice cream.

In the “SWLL Diet” chap­ter you will find oth­er sug­gest­ed sub­sti­tu­tions. Experimenting with some of these is not ad­vised be­fore you start on the SWLL be­cause the ex­per­i­ment will fail. For ex­am­ple, if you now drink whole milk, don’t ex­per­i­ment with skim milk. It will taste wa­tery and you prob­a­bly won’t like it. It takes about a month of drink­ing skim milk to be­come used to the taste and to like it.

When you start on the SWLL you will take up some forms of ex­er­cise. Now is a good time to do re­search and, maybe, to ex­per­i­ment. For ex­am­ple, if you don’t nor­mal­ly go for walks, find some­where pleas­ant and walk with a com­pan­ion. If your usu­al prac­tice is to have a store clerk load the gro­ceries into your car, do it your­self. Go to a gym and in­spect the fa­cil­i­ties and in­quire about the costs.

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